Sozo and ‘Healing of Memories’
During sozo sessions, practitioners may have the client close their eyes, use visualization and go back to a memory of the past – “speaking into” that memory or to a person in that memory. Closing Stages Ministry explains, “There are a variety of memory-healing psychotherapies masquerading under Christian terminology today, the most deadly are ‘regressive’ therapies designed to probe the unconscious for buried memories to be uncovered and healed”.
Oddly, we do not see Jesus nor His disciples ever practicing this memory healing. The Apostle Paul even said, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…” (Philippians 3:13). Why would a new, born-again creation in Christ (who is saved, healed and delivered) need to return to the old man to be delivered again? Isaiah 53:5 says, “by His stripes we are healed“. The prophet does not say we are partly healed. He does not say we are almost healed. He does not say we were healed but need three more healing sessions at Bethel Church for a fee. He does not say, you were healed but may not hold on to that healing. It says, present tense, we are healed! “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
But false prophets will tell you that Christ’s blood was not enough for your complete and final healing and new creation, and that you need additional help and multiple 2-3 hour sessions for your complete healing and deliverance. And if that doesn’t work, you will need further, more advanced “shabar” sessions. According to Bethel Sozo, “Shabar is a ministry to individuals who have continued to have inner healing ministry and yet cannot hold on to their healing. This ministry is not a first grab tool but is a tool to use toward the end of the inner healing process. The Shabar ministry was launched in 2002 by developing a Shabar team to ministry to individuals requesting the ministry”. The Greek word for “are healed” in Isaiah 53:5 is rapha. If you look at the Bible concordance, this Greek word is defined as:
“completely healed and made fresh”.
Have you ever read of an incident in scripture where Jesus healed someone and that healing was incomplete or a mere first step? Many sozo practitioners want you to think that you are not quite healed so that you can come to them for more healing ($). That is why they named their practice sozo which means “saved healed and delivered”. Don’t buy into it.
Bethel church and other sozo ministries often refer to Isaiah 53:5 and Isaiah 61:1,2. What they do not tell you is that Jesus fulfilled that scripture when (in Luke 4:14-20) Jesus told the people that on that day the scripture from Isaiah was fulfilled: “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (vs. 21).
In a free ebook called Evangelicals and Contemplative Mysticism, David Cloud explains the following in reference to Richard Foster:
My first experience was with a man who had lived in constant fear and bitterness for twenty-eight years. He would wake up at night, screaming and in a cold sweat. He lived in constant depression, so much so that his wife said that he had not laughed for many years. “He told me the story of what had happened those many years before that had caused such a deep sadness to hang over him. He was in Italy during the Second World War and was in charge of a mission of thirty-three men. They became trapped by enemy gunfire. With deep sorrow in his eyes, this man related how he had prayed desperately that God would get them out of that mess. It was not to be. He had to send his men out two by two and watch them get killed. Finally in the early hours of the morning he was able to escape with six men–four seriously wounded. He had only a flesh wound. He told me that the experience turned him into an atheist. Certainly, his heart was filled with rage, bitterness, and guilt. “I said, ‘Don’t you know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who lives in the eternal now, can enter that old painful memory and heal it so that it will no longer control you?’ He did not know this was possible. I asked if he would mind if I prayed for him–NEVER MIND THAT HE WAS AN ATHEIST; I would have faith for him. He nodded his consent. Sitting beside him with my hand on his shoulder, I invited the Lord Jesus to go back those twenty-eight years and walk through that day with THIS GOOD MAN. ‘Please, Lord,’ I asked, ‘draw out the hurt and the hate and the sorrow and set him free.’ Almost as an afterthought I asked for peaceful sleep to be one of the evidences of this healing work, for he had not slept well for all those years. ‘Amen.’ “The next week he came up to me with a sparkle in his eyes and a brightness on his face I had never seen before. ‘Every night I have slept soundly, and each morning I have awakened with a hymn on my mind. And I am happy … happy for the first time in twenty-eight years.’ His wife concurred that it was so. That was many years ago, and the wonderful thing is that although this man has had the normal ups and downs of life since then, the old sorrows have never returned. He was totally and instantaneously healed” (Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 205)
The bottom line is that this experience is strictly and profoundly unscriptural. There is not a hint of such a thing taught in the Bible.